Tuesday, 25 July 2017

What must we wear in tropical Ghana?

By Alex MASH, Accra
WORKERS of Ghana unite for you have nothing to lose but the sweat off your back!
Don't worry ruling elites around the world, you can breathe easy. This is not the rallying cry for a belated and half-hearted communist coup, though if youth unemployment continues to grow that might not be so much of a joke.

No, this is a plea for the Ghanaian worker to escape the trap of misery and sweat they currently find themselves in and to escape from their own self-imprisonment.
I am talking to you the Ghanaian office worker.
You get dressed into your finest clothes to appear as smart as possible to commute. You sit in the back of a ‘tro-tro’ surrounded by sweaty bodies desperately dabbing away to capture any bead of sweat that dares break rank and trickle down your face.
I see you running desperately into the cold and artificial embrace of the ‘aircon’ of your office hoping, beyond hope, that this morning you have passed through the 'the way of the warrior' that is the Ghanaian morning commute without breaking into a sweat.
But, alas, you glance in the mirror and see the inevitable sweat patch on your back and you know that once again you have failed.
You are condemned to another day of smelling slightly too nastily to be comfortable hoping that nobody else notices fully that when the end of the day comes if you want to return to your beloved family then you must once again battle the elements, leave your icy fortress and brave the outside world once again.
I understand why you do it, truly. You want to appear as smart and professional as possible to maintain your position of respect in your community and the wider world of business.
You think that the easiest way to achieve this is to dress like a Western businessperson and there is a grain of logic in this.
The modern-day pastoral image of the loving parent dressed up in their latest suit or smart dress stepping out of their house waving goodbye to their spouse and children before making their way to work receiving the pleasantries of your fellow citizens and returning them in kind - very sweet but, suicidally, sweaty.
But do not despair! There is a route to your salvation. Ghana needs to learn how to love the commute.
In the UK, we all love commuting so much we try and out price ourselves out of any housing a reasonable distance from our places of work by letting Sheikhs and Chinese businessmen buy them which lets us spend an ungodly amount of hours every day having to interact with our fellow humans or, more precisely, being crushed by their bodies in a massively overcrowded train.
But Ghana has the opportunity to love its commute even more. But first you need to escape the sweat and the fear of a day of sitting festering in your own sticky smartest clothes.
You need to work with nature not against it. It is a fact of nature that Ghana is considerably hotter than many Western countries so why on earth copy their practices word for word?
Here is the solution I propose. Ghana needs to get on board with the idea of commuting clothes, an outfit which you wear on your commute and when you get to work you get changed into your crisp, fresh, preserved business attire which you have carried with you.
You can enter into your first meeting of the day looking brilliantly refreshed and ready for the day's business, all free of fear from the return leg later in the day.
But you protest how can I look smart and maintain my position of respect if I don't look respectable?
Well firstly I would say that at the moment you just look silly. You may be surrounded by other people looking silly but you still look silly.
Secondly, the world of fashion has anticipated your trauma and invented something truly beautiful for you to wear as your commuting clothes.
It is called athleisure wear. It is a true miracle.
One can look naturally sporty and sweat profusely but still look like a functioning human being, and you even have a brilliant range of options to look stylish in.
For those of you who are obsessed with wearing at least 3 global brand names at any one time to remind everyone of how rich you are, it’s then perfect for you as you can crack out some of global capitalism's big names-Nike and Adidas – of course being at the forefront at the moment (though in style terms on the streets of the UK Adidas definitely does have the edge at this moment in time).
At this moment, some of you scoff at my stupidity. Why bother with worrying about what happens when you leave your air conditioned bubble to commute when you can spend your life savings on a massive 4x4 to both look important and avoid sweat at the same time?I have to admit that, true, you may escape the worst of the sweat.
While for the moment you may still look like the most suave individual in the office, when your co-workers (or seeing as you have the big car you must be the big boss so that means your subordinates) start to challenge you as they start to love their commute - thanks to the power of commuting clothes.
Beyond that, no matter how hard you try, your outfit will always be slightly ruffled and out of place. Your seatbelt will start to cause a horrid crease across your front. And no matter how hard you try, you can never truly escape nature.
If you start to wear athleisure wear you might even feel compelled to start exercising more, perhaps turning your commute into a jog or cycle instead of a car or ‘tro-tro’ journey. On this note, there is no business outfit in the world that doesn't look better with a more athletic figure.
Or at the very least, you can take great pride in the brilliant colour combos you can rock with athleisure wear.
So workers of Ghana, free yourselves from the yoke of oppression. Cast off your chains. Snap the manacles of imprisonment which you have put yourself in in the desperate hope they make you look more respectable.
Make the change. Choose a life free from sweat. Choose a life without a fear of nature. Choose athleisure wear. Take it and infect it with your own brilliant personalities and culture. Make it Ghanaian.
Workers of Ghana, the time has come to love your commute.